Is there any tips to write a deep/emotional scene? Or does it just kinda happen?
If you mean they just “kinda happen” like there’s a natural flow to the scene and what leads up to it, then yes. But any sort of deep scene is maybe 35% writing and 65% setup. (I’d give wiggle room for those numbers depending on writer skill and the plot. A poorer writer has to rely more on setup since their strength of scene wouldn’t be as good, and a deep scene early on isn’t going to be able to rely on the same setup and background.)
- You’re really going to have the push the “show don’t tell” here. Direct comment on emotion often pushes the reader away, so you need to let the scene speak for itself.
- The character perspective that the scene is written from changes a lot about mood and tone of the scene.
- It’s probably time to break out the intense language, but this doesn’t mean melodrama. Intensity of language simply means you choose words very carefully to fit the scene you want to convey. Someone doesn’t “move”, they “stumble” or “saunter”.
- Language structure, on top of word choice, can be used to convey feeling. Shorter sentences are blunt. Longer sentences have a sense of flow and can be calming if written with certain words, or jarring if the end on a very different tone than they began. There’s a lot to learn about how the way you structure your language can affect how a scene is read and interpreted.
- Any scene is “deeper” with a closer narrator perspective. 3rd omniscient can be fun, but will always fall a little short of 3rd limited or 1st person for emotional connection to the reader.
- Vagueness does not work in your favor. There needs to be clear cause-effect that lead up to that deep scene, because a lot of the “depth” comes from the implications and effects.
- What is the primary emotion you’re trying to convey in the scene? You need to be specific with your thought because specificity allows you to control the details that lead up to the scene, and during the scene. It also means you can hone in on a specific emotion to work with, think quality over quantity.
- That scene needs to mean something beyond the moment. It should have a lasting impact on the plot or another character, because “depth” is not isolated within the emotional scene. True depth is seen when the scene is so integrated into the story that it has real meaning and consequences in context.
- The scene has to make sense within the story. A little obvious, but I’ve seen writers try and throwing in a “deep” scene ”just because”. That’s not how it works. While there are ways to allow for a deep scene in a more lighthearted story, the setup still needs to lead there. It needs to make sense to exist within the plot, to the characters, and in the world.
- Tension should build up, and your readers need to care. If your readers don’t care, even a well-written emotional scene will fall flat. Part of getting them to care is managing tension and conflict in a story, which ties back into good storytelling in general. Some of the most effective emotional scenes work as a catharsis, which can only happen if there’s good build-up to begin with.
Good luck with your scenes!